CIOs must have wider experience

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Prospective chief information officers will need to add non-IT skills to their portfolio, according to a new survey by Gartner..

A poll of 1,400 CIOs around the world found that businesses are increasingly looking for broader skills as technology moves more fully into the business sphere.

Potential CIOs will have to demonstrate these skills if they are to be considered for the top jobs, the analyst firm warned.

"For the past few years we have detected some intriguing CIO hiring trends," said Ken McGee, distinguished analyst and Gartner fellow.

"CIO candidates are not required to have formal technology-oriented backgrounds but must be able to show that they have managed a non-IT business unit.

"Professional qualifications and competence are still necessary for those wanting to become CIOs, but these qualities will not be sufficient in the coming years."

The report also found that CIOs are concentrating on developing new applications that will attract and retain customers.

These will have to be developed in-house because off-the-shelf products are not distinctive enough to differentiate sites in consumers' minds.

"2008 represents an important year in the transformation of IT's role. Executive expectations for IT will accelerate towards greater support for solutions that attract, engage and retain customers," the report stated.

"Delivering on these expectations requires IT to create distinctive solutions that make the enterprise stand out.

"IT cannot accomplish this goal by relying on existing generic technologies which, although they work, do not contribute to a unique customer experience."

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